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1. Medications: Long-term use of high doses of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) -prescription painkillers, that contain ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), has a harmful effect on kidney tissue and structures, causing shrinkage of blood vessels in the kidneys. Diuretics (urine enhancers) medications may also cause excessive water loss, straining the kidneys.
2. Cigarette Smoking: Smoking has a direct relation to increased protein detected in the urine, affecting kidneys adversely. Diabetes and high blood pressure, diseases having an aggravating impact on kidney damage, are also exacerbated by smoking.
3. Sugars: Sugar laden food does not impact kidneys directly but triggers and worsens other health problems like diabetes. Diabetes and obesity are two of the most common causes of kidney damage.
4. Contrast Dyes: Dyes used in diagnostic radiology procedures like CT scans, X-rays and angiograms, have serious implications on the kidney, including Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), an abrupt decrease in kidney function. Insist on less toxic or diluted dyes, fluids to flush out toxins, or drugs to help protect the kidneys from the dye.
5. High-Sodium foods: Very little Sodium is required to maintain proper fluid balance in our body. Excessive salt intake triggers an avalanche in the body, increasing blood pressure, damaging the kidney’s filters- nephrons, accelerating kidney failure. Kidneys tend to retain water, needed for proper heart function, in order to dilute this excess electrolyte in the bloodstream.
6. High Blood Pressure: Weight control, exercise, and proper diet can control blood pressure—which puts lot of stress on your kidneys and causes loss of protein. So treating your blood pressure will help protect your kidneys.
7. Meat: Animal protein metabolism’s acidic residue triggers our body to pull calcium and other mineral salts from the bones, in order to return you to the preferred alkaline state, overstraining kidney functions. Uric acid –a byproduct of high purine foods such as meat, seafood and fish; causes kidney stones and calcium oxalate stones, due to increase in the amount of calcium excreted in urine
8. Drug allergies: Allergic reactions put unprecedented load on the kidneys. Avoid medicines that you are allergic to, and ask about a drug’s effects on the kidneys, any time you take a new medication, to avoid kidney damage.
9. Genetically Modified (GM) foods: Processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients to increase plant’s pest resistance, immunity to herbicides, or improve crop yields. Studies have shown that these foods create a state of hepatorenal (liver and kidney) toxicity. Opt for organically grown produce and avoid common sources of GM ingredients such as processed and prepackaged foods.
10. Artificial Sweeteners: Though these sweeteners assert that they are non-caloric, studies have shown a decline in kidney function with an intake of just two diet sodas per day.
11. Carbonated Beverages: Foods, like carbonated beverages (with or without artificial sweetener) and energy drinks, that are high in phosphates, are known to have a damaging effect on blood vessels in the kidneys, and increase the chances of kidney stone formation.
12. Dairy Products: Over consumption of dairy products (contain animal proteins), increases the discharge of calcium in the urine, which has been associated with a higher risk of developing kidney stones.
13. Caffeine: Caffeine in coffee, tea, soda, and foods, can stimulate blood flow, increasing blood pressure and stress on the kidneys. It substantially raises the kidney failure prospects in obese and diabetic consumers. Caffeine consumption has also been linked to kidney stone formation by increasing calcium excretion in urine.
14. High-oxalate Foods: Oxalates, which form oxalate stones, obstruct the flow of urine and damage kidneys. If you are prone to oxalate stones, stay away or moderate foods like nuts, chocolates and spinach.
15. Gluten induced: Gluten intolerant people have shown a higher tendency of gluten-induced kidney damage. So do check your levels regularly.
16. Vitamin D deficiency: Vitamin D is not just a vitamin but a steroid hormone that is critical to the health of kidneys and the body in general. So get out and get a piece of the sun.
17. Pre-Renal Causes: Lead to decrease in blood supply to the kidney through: (1) hypovolemia- low blood volume due to blood loss; (2) dehydration- through vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fever; (3) poor intake of fluids; (4) abnormal blood flow-due to obstruction of the renal artery or vein.

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